Zirconia ceramic, also known as zirconium dioxide (ZrO2), is a white crystalline oxide of zirconium. Its most naturally occurring form is the mineral baddeleyite with a monoclinic crystalline structure. It has the highest toughness and strength at room temperature of all the advanced ceramic materials. It also has excellent thermal insulation and low thermal conductivity.
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The main use of zirconia ceramic is in the production of hard ceramics. Some of its uses include as a protective coating on particles of titanium dioxide pigments, as a refractory material, in insulation, abrasives and enamels.
Stabilized zirconia is used in oxygen sensors and fuel cell membranes because it has the ability to allow oxygen ions to move freely through the crystal structure at high temperatures. This high ionic conductivity (and a low electronic conductivity) makes it one of the most useful electroceramics.
Zirconium dioxide is also used as the solid electrolyte in electrochromic devices.
Zirconia is a precursor to the electroceramic lead zirconate titanate (PZT), which is a high-K dielectric, which is found in myriad components.